A third year BA student of the Nirmala College in Kerala's Muvattupuzha was suspended on Thursday from the institution for insulting the National Anthem based on a complaint filed members of KSU, the student wing of the Congress. Aslam, according to KSU is part of the Students Federation of India, the students wing of CPI (M), but both SFI and the college have denied it.
In a video of the incident that was circulated among college students, Aslam can be seen moving around the classroom while the rest of his classmates stand as the anthem is played. Aslam first tries to take photographs. He then moves around the room, faces his classmates and then mockingly salutes.
The video was recorded by another student and a third can be seen laughing at what was perhaps intended as a prank by the group.
KSU Idukki general secretary Ramshad Rafeeq filed a complaint with the college, following which, Aslam was suspended.
"The video of Aslam mocking the National Anthem has been shared on social media. We examined the video and also spoke to the students who were present at the class room at that time, who told us that what he did was disrespecting national anthem. Hence we decided to suspend him. If he is proven guilty as per the law existing in the country, he will be dismissed. The college can't tolerate such acts. It happened in the evening of February 27 and he was placed under suspension on March 1. I am not aware if he was an SFI activist or leader," said college principal Dr TM Joseph.
Speaking to TNM KSU's Ramshad said that he filed a complaint with the college authorities against Aslam for insulting the National Anthem.
"Somebody from his class recorded the video and it was shared in their class group. One student brought this to our notice and we took up the issue," Ramshad said.
He said that KSU has also filed a police complaint in the matter.
Muvattupuzha police, however, told TNM that they haven't received a complaint on the matter so far.
"There was no complaint from anyone in connection with the incident. We registered a suo motu case based on the news reports on Fridayunder section 3 of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. The statement is yet to be taken. The details can be collected only after the probe begins," Muvattupuzha police said.
SFI denies allegations
SFI members have categorically denied that Aslam is a member of SFI. State secretary Vijin said that while Aslam was a member of SFI before, he was no longer part of the group.
"His tenure as secretary of the unit ended close to four months back. He is not even a member of SFI now," Vijin maintained.
Vijin went on to attack the ABVP and the right wing for sharing the video and trying to gain political leverage out of this, though ironically it was the KSU who approached authorities.
ABVP's Piravom Facebook page had shared the video of Aslam two days ago.
"ABVP hasn't taken up the quotation for national anthem, is it? They don't need to teach us patriotism. This Aslam is not in SFI anymore, ABVP just want to project themselves as nationalists, by trying to put us down," Vijin alleged.